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Blue Cloud Is Appearing Over Antarctica, NASA Says It Is Normal

By Monica U Santos , Dec 05, 2016 01:22 AM EST
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The night-glowing or noctilucent clouds appear over the South Pole every year. This year, they arrived much earlier than usual, and scientists are not expecting it to happen. A new study shows that the early appearance of the blue cloud over Antarctica is because of the greenhouse gases. As for NASA's record, this is one of the earliest time noctilucent clouds spotted over the South Pole.

Where Is Antarctica?

Antarctica is the Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the whole Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. Antarctica, on average, is the coldest, driest and windiest among all the seven continents, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents.

Blue Cloud Is Appearing Over Antarctica, NASA Says It Is Normal

The appearance of crystal-like blue clouds over the Antarctica came substantially earlier this year, and scientists say they didnt expect to be this early. Noctilucent clouds, or night-shining clouds, usually appear in late November or early December. But this year, NASA says that the South Pole’s annual noctilucent cloud show arrived much sooner than expected, which is in mid-November.

According to The CS Monitor, usually, NASA uses the unusual clouds to decode the surrounding mesosphere, the atmospheric layer directly above the stratosphere. The use of this tool is explained by NASA's Lina Tran in a blog post.Data from NASA's Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere, or AIM, spacecraft shows the sky over Antarctica is glowing electric blue due to the start of noctilucent, or night-shining, cloud season in the Southern Hemisphere - and an early one at that.

Noctilucent clouds are Earth’s highest clouds, sandwiched between Earth and space 50 miles above the ground in a layer of the atmosphere called the mesosphere. Seeded by fine debris from disintegrating meteors, these clouds of ice crystals glow a bright, shocking blue when they reflect sunlight.

As Inquisitr reported, Satellite images posted Friday on NASA’s website show that noctilucent clouds were first seen over Antarctica on November 17, and the clouds forming between that date and November 28.

 

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